Smartphones have paved the way for an increasing number of health-monitoring innovations, covering a range of applications such as fitness, cardiac function and diabetes, to name but a few. Now, a team of students has tapped the power of mobile phones to help those who want to quit smoking. Relieve is the name of the app/e-cigarette combo concept developed by students at the University of Lincoln in the UK. The idea is to help addicts gradually wean themselves off nicotine and recruit their friends for moral support.

The multidisciplinary team made of students from marketing, engineering, product design and media production won the Vodafone 24 Hour Challenge. The competition was launched to give a platform to students to come up with novel product ideas in just one day. A similar solution, Smokio, offers a connected nicotine-free e-cigarette experience. Here, the user is given a nicotine fix that is incrementally reduced as the app develops a custom program for each user. Like other e-cigarettes, it produces vapor, whose volume remains the same despite the decrease in nicotine dosage.

In order to keep the motivation factor up – and smokers can do with plenty of help in that respect – users get progress reports on how their perseverance is paying off. They are also sent data on health benefits of nicotine reduction and financial gains as rewards for their efforts.

They can also share the results of their efforts on social media, so their friends can become a type of support network. It's a feature that SmartStop, which we wrote about recently, also offers. Research suggests that kind of support boosts chances of success.

The student team is hoping the concept will make it to production. “We have designed it to the point where if we wanted to build a prototype, we could make that happen. Once we had come up with it, it was one of those ideas that just made sense and you wonder why it doesn't already exist,” said Robert Meehan, an advertising and marketing program graduate who was part of the team.

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